Chip Wilson is best known as the founder of the yoga-inspired clothing company, lululemon athletica. He is an innovator in the field of technical apparel, widely credited with starting the “athleisure” retail category which has expanded into a $100-billion a year global business.
More recently, Chip has created a portfolio of companies called Hold It All: which directly reflects his diverse interests, personal vision and values. It is truly a family of companies: Chip’s wife, Shannon, and son, JJ, are directly involved in both creative and strategic roles.
Chip’s passion for innovative design and fabrics began, literally, at the feet of his mother, an accomplished seamstress. He started his first retail apparel company, Westbeach Snowboard Ltd., in 1979. It sold apparel targeted at the emerging surf, skate, and snowboard markets.
A year after selling Westbeach, he founded lululemon athletica in 1998. Again, Chip identified a cultural shift – the growing popularity of yoga and the broader social impact of its teachings. His vision was to combine the technical fabrics and design required for yoga with greater style.
Lululemon became a global success story and over time, Chip gradually reduced his ownership stake. The company was taken public in 2007, although he remains its largest individual shareholder and one of it’s most vocal champions.
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Since then, the proceeds from the sale of lululemon have been largely allocated to the growth of assets and entities within Hold It All.
Among them is Kit and Ace, an international clothing and retail enterprise started in 2014 by Shannon and JJ. Kit and Ace leverages the fabric and design experience gained through lululemon, to create sophisticated clothing with the fabrics and performance standards typically associated with athleisure wear.
Low Tide Properties, another of member of the Hold It All corporate family, is a substantial Vancouver-based real estate investment company. It has a growing portfolio of investments and an expanding management services business.
The mobile app, whil, is also included in Hold It All. Based on 60- second exercises that promote mindfulness, whil is designed as a tool to help individuals and organizations enhance quality of life and productivity.